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Will lithium help depression?


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I was put on lithium today (only 150 mg twice a day) and told to stay on Paxil at 20 mg. They are hoping to help get rid of some of the restlessness, labile moods, irritability, and inability to sleep that I am having. I've tried almost every med out there and they are coming to the end of the line they say (great.) They did offer to increase the Paxil and stay on Zyprexa (on which I've gained tons of weight and said no) or to try Depakote (I had a ex bf on that stuff and he ballooned!) I'm worried because I am at my highest weight, very near 300 pounds, and can't afford to gain more weight.

It's like you gotta take the good with the bad, be fat and happy or sad and thin... I can't win either way!

Anyway, I thought they had diagnosed me as bipolar before but now they say, no, just "severe major depression" with possible OCD and maybe a mood disorder... NOS, of course.

Is lithium worth the trouble? Is it going to help my depressive symptoms and how soon before I notice a difference? Am I going to be extra tired?

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Lithium was a godsend for me. I was severely depressed and suicidal when I first saw my pdoc, she wanted to put me inpatient. She started me on Lithium and within 3 -5 days it put a "hard floor" under my depression. I was no longer in the absolute depths.

Weight gain? maybe a little but compared to the Paxil she took me off of I think I probably lost a little weight. With Paxil I was viciously hungry. I was hungrier after finishing a meal than when I started.

You may initially feel emotionally disconnected at first with Lithium, but like many side effects it wears off as your body gets used to the med.

As frustrated as I was with lithium at first, it worked, and worked well. It would take wild horses to drag it out of my hands now. The best part is feeling stable and not being on an emotional roller coaster all the time.

good luck. a.m.

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Wow I didn't know that Paxil was THAT awful of an offender in the food department but now that I think about it, you are right. I'd love to get off the Paxil and I told pdoc that but as of now she won't do it. Grrr...

Oh, I have a little bit of Zyprexa left from before I started the lithium. She told me to continue to take it as needed when I feel really terrible until it runs out. Thats all. Yeah, that was my thought... like... isn't Zyprexa an antipsychotic? If that one works for my depression and just has weight gain, why not try Geodon? But she swore I didn't need an antipsych.

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I see in your signature that you have hypothyroidism. Keep checking on that while you are trying to lose weight and also because lithium can increase your hypothyroidism. It made mine worse. I'm still keeping the lithium. I just had to adjust my thyroid medication.

Oreo

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Lithium for me , like AM , was a godsend. I'd been on every AD in the book and never quite gotten the relief I needed. Starting lithium made me feel kind of like a zombie for the first couple of weeks- but after that it was the best antidepressant ever. My moods have been so much more stable. Put it this way: I've had 0 hospitilazations since I started taking lithium!!

As for weight gain- it is not a given- any weight gain i've had I can attribute to other things and it hasn't been that significant. like everything its individual. i had bad weight gain on one AP but not on any others. so you just never know.

I'm also hypothyroid- so you do need to be sure to check it regularly- I've had to adjust my thyroid med twice over the years. And of course check the lithium levels- though if using it as an AD it does not need to reach the therapeutioc levels as it would treating BP.

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i took lithium for about 3 months... and apart from the fact that i had lithium toxicity and i was extremely sick, for the time that i wasnt sick i thought it was great - i felt like i had heaps more energy, much more stable, lifted the depression a lot. i lost weight to start with but then had a little trouble with fluid retention. wasnt massive though, only really noticed now that i've come off it.

i hope it works for you! i was so disappointed that it made me sick, because it was otherwise so helpful.

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